matrimonial square

gluten free matrimonial squaresThis square has a sweet and sticky date filling sandwiched between two layers of an oat-based crumble. Called a date square in most places, in Western Canada and Northern England it’s also known as a matrimonial square or cake. There are various conjectures as to why including the idea that the crumble and date filling marry together in perfect harmony or the theory that “dates” will lead to matrimony. Our money is on Gastronomica’s account that the cake evolved from ancient Roman traditions around marriage and is part of the evolution of the modern-day wedding cake (Click here for the full article). Either way, here is a gluten free version of an oldie but a goodie. (Scroll down for the recipe)

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gluten free matrimonial square

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

What you’ll need:

1 ¼ cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour

TIP: Any all purpose gf flour will do. We like Bob’s Red Mill for anything that resembles pie crust.

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

1 ½ cups gluten free rolled oats (We use Only Oats. Please note: not all Celiacs can tolerate oats – even gluten free oats.)

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, chilled and cubed

½ pound dates, sliced

½ cup white sugar

2/3 cup water

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch pan.

Add gf flour, xanthan gum, brown sugar, soda, and salt to food processor. Pulse to combine.

Add butter and pulse until mixture comes together in large crumbles. Add oats and pulse to just mix them in – or mix them into the crumble by hand.

Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of your pan.

In sauce pan, combine dates, white sugar and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the dates are mushy. You may need to add water if the mixture becomes too dry.

Spread the date filling over the bottom layer of pressed crumble. Now sprinkle the final third of the crumb mixture over top of the filling and lightly press it into the filling.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top turns a golden brown colour.

This recipe is a conversion of Jean Paré’s version of Matrimonial Squares.

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Gluten free recipes from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Photo credit: Plate is “The Engagement” from the Brambly Hedge Series by Royal Doulton.


24 thoughts on “matrimonial square

  1. Oooh! I have a bag of dates sitting on the kitchen table, and I love oats – must try this one out. I’ve never heard of ‘matrimonial squares’ before (I’m a UK southerner now living in the midlands) but I love the name.

  2. Now that is so cute. I wish my friends could see all
    these but they all feel that it’s to expensive when you
    don’t need to buy it. I love that What’s next?

    • Thanks. GF is expensive, which is too bad because many of the flours have more interesting flavour and are more nutritional than wheat flour. We have quite a few things coming up – including cauliflower cheese soup, a new bread recipe, and turnovers!

  3. My husband and I honeymooned in New England and we were served these squares at the bed & breakfast we stayed at. The hostess graciously gave me here recipe and now we have these every year for our Christmas morning breakfast. Thanks for sharing, brings back many wonderful memories! I may have to try making them gluten-free this year. 🙂

  4. Thanks for liking my Stir Fry Frittata recipe gfandme! (at I love your blog and will definitely follow it. Oh… and for sure I’m making these!! 😉

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